What is Trident?
The UK Trident Programme was initiated during the Cold War, designed to deter Warsaw Pact forces. Trident is a system made up of four Vanguard-class submarines armed with nuclear missiles, one of which is on patrol at all times. It is the most expensive and the most powerful capability of the British military forces.
What is the Lib Dem policy on Trident?
While it seems inconceivable that the UK would ever use a nuclear weapon, simply deciding to disarm now would not yield financial savings in the next Parliament nor would it give us leverage in global nuclear disarmament talks. Thus, we believe a step down the nuclear ladder towards a minimal yet credible deterrent offers the best balance of deterrence coupled with a clear commitment to disarmament.
What is the alternative approach to Trident?
We would end continuous at-sea deterrence, but exercise the submarine capability regularly to maintain relevant skills. Through fewer submarines and reduced manpower, we could save money. Adopting this posture would represent the biggest step down the nuclear ladder that the UK or any established nuclear power has ever taken. It would keep the nuclear option open for the future, and would contribute more significantly to nuclear disarmament, enabling us to focus on conventional capabilities to defend our interests and be a force for good around the world.